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Will people in need of protection be able to access it?

Panel discussion

The decade ahead.jpg

Each of our panels will discuss a scenario set a decade in the future. This scenario is not a prediction, but provides a picture of a plausible future in order to help us to explore and anticipate some of the issues we might need to grapple with to ensure protection for displaced people.

Panel 1 will discuss the following scenario:

It is 2033, and over the past decade, the rate of displacement has continued its upward trend. Record high numbers of people have now been forced to leave their homes due to the intersecting drivers of conflict, persecution, serious human rights abuses and the effects of climate change and disasters. Many are internally displaced, but others have crossed international borders and are sheltering in neighbouring countries.

Across the Global North, there has been widespread take-up of policies that contain asylum seekers in the Global South. For those few who do succeed in reaching the Global North, protection is not available. It is now common practice for asylum seekers to be removed immediately and transferred to partner States in the Global South to have their claims processed there. Public opinion in the Global North has adjusted to the new reality in which irregular migration is almost non-existent, and only refugees specifically chosen for resettlement or other visas are permitted to enter and remain in their countries.

This new paradigm has been made possible by the large-scale development of border technologies and unprecedented data-sharing arrangements between States in the Global North and South, international organisations, and large corporations. From the moment a person flees their home, their biometric and personal data is used to track, predict, control and divert their journey.  Border officials have been replaced by biometric and sensing technologies which use a combination of passport readers, cameras, CCTV systems and body scanners to identify travellers and assess their reasons for travel and risk factors (including any potential intention to apply for asylum). Attempts to enter outside these official points are also frustrated. Global surveillance tech is used to predict, monitor and prevent irregular maritime journeys, and to intercept attempts to cross land-borders other than at formal points of entry.

The success of this system hinges on the cooperation of States in the Global South which have made their support conditional on an increase in resettlement and complementary pathways to protection, including the expansion of work, student, family reunion and other visa programs. They have also insisted upon a significant increase in economic incentives, technology transfer and humanitarian and development aid.

For their part, governments in the Global North have reaffirmed their commitments to protection for displaced people, albeit through government-operated and ‘regular’ migration channels.

Audience Q&A can be submitted through Slido at this link or #2693819


Magdalena Arias Cubas

Senior Research Officer, Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab


Magdalena (Malena) Aria Cubas is the Senior Research Officer at the Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab and an Adjunct Fellow with the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. She is a social scientist with over a decade of experience in research specialising in international migration. Originally from Mexico, she has held multiple research and teaching roles in Australia and has led qualitative and quantitative research with migrants in vulnerable situations in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Sydney, and her work has been published in Comparative Migration Studies, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Migración y Desarrollo, Migration Information Source, and the Revue Europeean des Migrations Internationales among other outlets. Her research interests include the intersection between migration, inequality, and humanitarianism. 

Louis Everuss

Centre Coordinator, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of South Australia

@LEveruss @UniSAEUCentre

Louis Everuss is a Research Associate and Coordinator at the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of South Australia, where he also lectures in sociology. His research interests are in the sociological study of mobilities, sovereignty, migration, and borders. His work has studied various subjects related to these themes, including how systems of mobility are incorporated into representations of sovereign outsiders, the way borders are racially constructed through everyday performances of the law, and how public opinions of climate change are impacted by national context. His research has been published in Political Geography, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, the Journal of Sociology and Applied Mobilities. His first book, Digital Mobilities and Smart Borders: How Digital Technologies Transform Migration and Sovereign Borders, is being published by De Gruyter in 2023. Along with Dr Eric Hsu, he is co-host and co-creator of the Sociology of Everything Podcast. 

Adama Kamara

Deputy CEO, Refugee Council of Australia

@adamatweets @OzRefugeeCouncil

Adama Kamara is the Deputy CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) - the national umbrella body for people seeking asylum, refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. She has 15 years’ experience in refugee services, health and local government, as well as personal and family experience of seeking asylum and supporting newly arrived refugees from her home country of Sierra Leone. She has a passion for community-led initiatives and is an advocate for meaningful participation. She has led co-design projects with young people, people seeking asylum, refugees, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and service providers.  One example is the multi-award-winning Refugee Camp in My Neighbourhood project, which she initiated and has led since 2014. 

Nikolas Feith Tan

Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for Human Rights


Nikolas Feith Tan is a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, where he works on refugee and asylum law. He is presently on temporary assignment as Senior Protection Officer with UNHCR. He has published widely on key questions in refugee law and policy, including access to asylum, externalisation, cessation and community sponsorship. He has taught masters-level courses related to international refugee law with three universities across Europe and recently acted as legal consultant for Amnesty International, the Danish Refugee Council and Migration Policy Institute on various aspects of international protection.

Chair: Madeline Gleeson

Senior Research Fellow, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@madelinegleeson @KaldorCentre

Madeline Gleeson is a lawyer and Senior Research Fellow at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. She specialises in international human rights and refugee law, with a focus on the law of State responsibility, extraterritorial human rights obligations, offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island, and refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific region. She has extensive experience working with forcibly displaced people around the world. She has worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia, and UNHCR and the International Catholic Migration Commission in Geneva, Switzerland. She also has human rights experience in South Africa and Indonesia, and previously practiced as a solicitor in Australia. Madeline holds a Master in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland; a Bachelor of Laws (with First Class Honours) and Bachelor of International Studies from UNSW; and a Diploma in Political Studies (Certificat d’Etudes Politiques) from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence, France. She is admitted as a practitioner of the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales. 

Image credit: Call Me Fred/Unsplash

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